It was a much busier Christmas than had originally been planned. The Weasleys had been planning on going home to the Burrow for Christmas, but they ended up staying at Grimmauld Place because it was much closer to St. Mungos.
On Christmas day Anne was woken up by the sound of Fred and George’s screams as Diana attacked them.
“What the hell is that thing!” screamed Fred as he pulled a scratching Diana off him and threw her over to Anne on the bed.
“I thought you said she was only a kitten?” groaned George.
“She is, but a kneazle kitten, you shouldn’t have burst through the door when I was sleeping if you didn’t want to be attacked.”
“Thanks for the warning,” grumbled Fred as he nursed his scratches.
“Anyway, Merry Christmas Anne!” said Fred and George.
“Its five o’clock in the morning,” pointed out Anne.
“All the more reason to celebrate then!” beamed George pulling Anne out of bed.
Anne managed to grab her dressing gown quickly as Fred and George pulled her downstairs.
It was clear that Fred and George had been doing the rounds because everyone in the house was already awake. Harry was sitting on one of the sofas with his arm around Ginny, even though it was so early they were both beaming. Bill and Fleur were even there at this time in the morning, Fleur was looking slightly peeved as she had no agreed to be here quite this early. Mrs Weasley was smiling around as if this was perfectly normal as she passed around a large dish of mince pies, it seemed as if they woke up this early for Christmas without fail. Tonks was eating a mince pie; she was now nearly six months pregnant. Everyone including Bill and Fleur were still wearing their pyjama’s. Sirius and Julian were sat by the tree getting ready to hand out the presents, and Dobby and Kreacher were sharing an armchair.
“Morning sweetheart,” beamed Remus, “sorry it’s so early.”
“That’s ok,” said Anne as she sat down next to Remus and Tonks.
Sirius and Julian started to hand out the presents once everyone was sat down.
They started with the presents from Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, there was a jumper for everyone apart from Kreacher who wouldn’t accept clothes, instead she had made him a new blanket for his bed.
Anne’s jumper this year was bright red and a navy-blue A. Mrs. Scamander clearly had been in contact with Mrs Weasley, because she had sent Anne a holly red scarf, beret and a pair of gloves.
She got given assorted chocolates and sweets from her friends and roommates.
Sirius and Remus had got Harry a set of books on Defence Against the Dark Arts, and Anne some books on muggle and magical history.
Rolf had sent her a new book on Herbology that had only just come out.
Irwin had given her a necklace with a heart shaped emerald on a gold chain. Irwin had always liked Anne in green.
Luna had gotten Anne some new toys for Diana including a new collar.
Tonks as well as the usual presents for herself received some things for the baby. Anne made a tiny pair of baby boots in yellow and had crocheted a crib blanket in all the colours imaginable. Mrs. Weasley had made the baby a baby version of a Weasley jumper and a pram blanket.
When all the presents had been handed out and unwrapped, Anne passed Julian one more present.
“Morgana gave me this for you,” she said as she pulled out a badly wrapped lumpy parcel.
“Thank Anne,” said Julian as he took the parcel. He unwrapped it to find a homemade card with a Welsh Dragon on the front, and a book on Welsh Magical culture. On the first page of the book Morgana had written embrace the Celtic heritage within you.
“Morgie, always used to make fun of me for being half Welsh,” he chuckled, as he looked at the red dragon prancing on the card. Somehow, Morgana had managed to get all the other siblings to sign the card too without their parents finding out.
After presents they all had breakfast. Later in the day they all went to St. Mungos to go visit Mr. Weasley in St. Mungos. Everyone was used to dressing in Muggle clothes so went to St. Mungos in jumpers, jeans, and Muggle coats. Anne pulled on the blue coat that had used to belong to Irwin’s mum over the top of her red jumper from Mrs Weasley before putting on her new red scarf hat and gloves from the Scamander’s.
It was a thirty-minute walk to the hospital. They stopped outside a disused muggle department store shop window.
“Good Afternoon,” said Remus waving at the mannequin of the shop window, “we’re here to see Arthur Weasley.”
The mannequin beckoned towards them through the window. They all walked through the window and found themselves in St. Mungos.
They went up the ward where Mr. Weasley was staying, there were quite a few of them so it was fortunate that the ward didn’t have any other visitors.
Remus and Julian went to go talk to a man who had been bitten by a werewolf and the rest of them crowded around Mr. Weasley’s bed.
“Merry Christmas Mr Weasley,” said Anne handing him a book.
“Airplanes?” asked Mr. Weasley.
“It explains the engineering behind them,” she explained, “how they stay up.”
“My greatest ambition,” he stammered, “to learn how airplanes stay up! Thank you so much!”
“That’s ok,” she muttered kidding behind her hair again.
“Arthur,” said Mrs Weasley checking her husband’s bandages, “why have these been changed again?”
“Oh, it’s nothing,” he mumbled trying to cover up his arm, “just something that me and one of the trainee healers thought we’d try, a bit controversial but it was worth a try.”
“Arthur what have you been doing?” she screamed.
“Well it’s a Muggle method Molly dear, it’s called stitches.”
“I think we should get out of here,” muttered Anne pulling Harry, Ron, Ginny, Fred and George with her.
“It sounds like you’ve been trying to sew your skin back together,” scoffed Mrs Weasley as they left.
“That’s the general idea,” they heard Mr Weasley mutter through the closed door as they all legged it out of the ward.
“There’s supposed to be a tea shop on the fifth floor,” said Ron as they headed up the stairs.
Anne was trailing along the back as they all went up the stairs to the fifth floor.
Anne was thinking about Irwin and how he would be going on the family walk with the Scamander’s about now. Averett and Aislynn were getting so big now, they were going to be nine in January. It was strange to think that in only a few years little Averett and Aislynn would be starting at Hogwarts.
Anne reached the fourth floor and realised that the others were well ahead of her and were nearly on the fifth floor.
Anne was about to continue onto the fifth floor when she that a woman with lank hair was staring at her through the window of the closed ward door on the ward called Permanent Spell Damage.
The woman’s face looked vaguely familiar it was roundish with what might once have been smiling eyes. Anne knew that woman’s face but it had aged a lot more than it should have done in the last fourteen years. Her hair looked like it could use a decent brush through and looked as it greyed prematurely, she was wearing a floral nightdress. The woman had a hand pressed against the glass door as if trying to reach out for her.
The woman was ushered back to her bed. Anne knocked on the door of the ward and it was opened by one of the healers.
“Can I help you dear?” asked the healer.
“I was wondering if I could talk to one of your residents,” muttered Anne.
“Which one did you want to talk to dear?”
“Alice Longbottom,” said Anne, “she was friends with my parents.”
“I’m sure Alice would love to see you and Frank too!” the healer beamed.
“Just a warning though,” she said as they walked over to the beds, “they won’t recognise you; they don’t even recognise their own son.”
“I know,” said Anne who already knew about their condition from Neville.
“Alice, Frank,” said the healer as they came over to the beds, “someone’s come to visit you.”
“Hi,” said Anne nervously as she sat down next to Alice’s bed. She didn’t know why but earlier she had felt like Alice was trying to reach out to her.
Alice seemed to be reaching out her hand for hers, Anne took hold of Alice’s hand gently.
Alice seemed to be gesturing towards a photograph on her bedside table, Anne passed it to Alice. It was a photograph of Alice, Frank, Lily and James.
Alice pointed at the picture of Lily. Now Anne understood why Alice had been drawn to her earlier.
“No, I’m not Lily,” she tried to explain, “I’m Anne, Lily and James’ daughter.”
Alice didn’t seem to understand this but did seem to trust Anne enough to let her brush out her hair.
Anne was sat on Alice’s bed, just tying off Alice’s plait having brushed out her hair, when Neville came in.
“Anne,” exclaimed Neville, “what are you doing here?”
“Umm,” stuttered Anne, “your mum was staring at me through the window, so I came to talk to her. I think she thinks I’m my mum.”
“Oh,” said Neville with a smile on his face, “well if she remembers Lily, at least she remembers something, you’ve no idea how much progress this is!”
“Anne,” said Mrs Longbottom, “there you are, Remus is looking for you everywhere.”
“Oh Merlin,” muttered Anne getting up from Alice’s bed. She’d forgotten all about Remus and the others because she had been so busy talking with Alice.
“Anne!” shouted Remus as Anne left the ward, “what the hell have you been doing? When Harry realised you weren’t with them he was panicking like mad! ”
“I was talking to Alice Longbottom,” she stuttered indicating the door to the Permanent Residents Ward.
“Of all the outrageous stories I’ve ever heard!” he shouted.
“I was talking to Alice, I’m sorry,” she sobbed bursting into tears.
Remus looked at the ward they were standing outside. He pulled the sobbing girl in for a hug.
“I’m sorry too,” he muttered stroking out her hair, “I was just so worried about you. We didn’t know where you were, anything could have happened to you.”
“Did you really talk to Alice?” he asked once she had calmed down.
“Yes, she thought I was mum,” she explained as they went to find the others.
“Let’s get you home sweetheart,” he said putting his arm around her.
It was a very strange Christmas holidays. She didn’t know what had it the most strange, the six month pregnant Tonks eating salt and vinegar crisps dipped in strawberry jam, Sirius tying to teach Dobby how to sing Christmas carols, or Anne meeting with Alice Longbottom in the hospital. Even though it had been strange, it was definitely a Christmas she would never forget.